Bruce Coughlan

“Songsmith Bruce Coughlan has a gift for pinpointing compelling characters from B.C.’s past. Whether it’s the last of the Royal Engineers, a grizzled tugboat captain or Victoria Cross winner, his songs help us walk in their footsteps. Bruce has now created a multi-media tribute to Samuel Robertson, a transplanted Orkney Islander who crafted boats for the Hudson’s Bay Company, married a Sto:lo Chief’s daughter, struck it rich in the Cariboo — and carved out the first farm at Maple Ridge.

Robertson, who was born in Scotland in 1823 and later migrated to Fort Langley in 1843, was the first European to settle and farm in Maple Ridge, according to the Maple Ridge Museum. He was also responsible for planting the first fruit trees in Maple Ridge not owned by the Hudson Bay Company, which can still be found along Kanaka Creek.

Coughlan explains that the project includes a virtual tour that takes viewers through various historic locations, all while Coughlan provides a voice-over to explain the significance of each area in relation to Robertson’s life.

The project also has several pieces of original music created by Coughlan’s band Tiller’s Folly, including a new music video for their song “A Simply Extraordinary Life”.

Coughlan referred to the project as a “fast-paced magazine-style documentary look at how one-man’s life transitioned the most pivotal time in Western Canadian History.”

To raise money for the project, a fundraising concert was put on at the Fort Langley Community Hall by the BC Farm Museum, SOCAN Foundation and Creative Compass Society, where the song  “A Simply Extraordinary Life” was debuted.

Sam Robertson